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Should the concept of competition be eliminated from schools?

Recently I've learned about Finland's educational system. Eliminating the sense of competition between students. No standardized test until they reach the age of 16. The least number of school hours in the world and the best resutls in the standardized tests.
I, as a student myself, I'd see it as a solution to self-esteem issues when it comes to grades and trust in abilities. I get As but I've been wondering how well other students would do if there was no pressure about tests and gradual, self-understanding would do help them achieve what we deserve as a result from education.

Please give your opinion in terms of school experience, and if you're from Finland (or studied there in that system) please don't doubt in sharing.

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  • Mar 30 2013: Let me first tell my experience in my journey through education. Because of my family financial problems, I had to quit school at the 8th grade, and work at the age of 14, to partially support my mother and grandmother and two younger siblings. But I did have a goal to self study and reenter school learning some times later. However it took 7 years for my father to come back and took over the family support. Then I was able to pass a series of examinations which qualified me as having high school diploma, then a college degree and some test to qualify me to be a medium level government employee. But then I decided to try my luck to apply and accepted as a special student into an American university, I was accepted into the graduate school only 6 months later, and worked out a master and a Phd degree in 6 years. During this period of academic study, there were certainly some tests, but I probably spend more efforts in research and writing term-papers, theses than taking tests. There was an oral examination for the thesis defense, but they are not competitive either.
    In conclusion, personally I don't think "competition" is absolutely necessary. What one needs is a strong motivation and a firm goal and hard work. I have read about the school system in Finland, and I am not surprised that the student skill tests results have always been ranked at the top in recent years. Therefore, I have no doubt that it works. I hope that you should have faith in it also. I am a retired professor in a school of public health. The school dean always told us that regardless of the credentials of the students, as long as we judged them to have the potential of learning, everybody is educable as long as he/she has the strong motivation and perseverance. I agreed with him because I myself am such a person.
    • Mar 30 2013: I'm glad it all worked out for you. Certainly I do understand the sense of ambition, will, self-discipline, motivation and perseverance because I've had lately the same problems. I study in a really good school, but that's after proving (I don't know how, they just saw it) that it was worth the money for me to continue studying there. Afterwards, my step-dad (who my mother got divorced to, leading to all economical problems) started paying my tuition. I'm also an athlete, swimming, so competition is something I know of naturally.
      What I'm saying is not that the stardardized tests is wrong, it's just that it's true that competition happens naturally between students. By 'elminating' I meant that it is taught as to not degrade the other person. Yet when it comes to higher education such as getting into college or getting you highschool certificate I do see it as more healthy as it shows you've got to work as you have an oppotunity for a legal recognition of your education. Yet again, that's where you need your own self motivation and perseverance. I guess it all depends on the nature of the person and whether they're really sensitive to 'losing' or failing at what they wanted to achive and compare themselves to others.

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